Travel Films From Watson Kintner

Before “wandering through the stacks” at Internet Archive, I had never heard of Watson Kintner. Although he is far from a household name, the chemical engineer who lived from 1890-1979 provided thorough and unique documentation of his extensive travels for future generations to learn from.

Kintner traveled to more than 30 individual countries throughout his lifetime armed with a 16mm camera and a thoughtful eye. What he created is a collection of moving images that clearly illustrates the countries he visited. Kintner had an obvious goal to really characterize a place while including images of all major aspects of an area; his films offer an education of past cultures.

The short documentaries show intimate meetings with the land’s people, animals, food, housing, rituals, costume, everyday dress, markets, geography, instruments, weather, sea life, pottery, weaving, and transportation. They have been collected and preserved by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology who has archived the collection at Internet Archive.

Here are some highlights of the collection:

  • Mexico, 1933 or 1934
  • East Africa, 1961
  • Ethiopia, 1969
  • India, 1958
  • Australia, 1957
  • Iran, 1963
  • Guatemala, 1947
  • For more interesting historical moving images, check out the rest of the Penn Museum Collection.

    –Cara Binder

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    13 thoughts on “Travel Films From Watson Kintner

    1. Pingback: ResearchBuzz » » Internet Archive Hosts Watson Kintner Travel Videos

    2. LordHox

      I am going to have to look into Kitner more. Just looking at some of his pics…wow. Makes me want to get a camera and travel the world.
      Lord out.

    3. Antolin

      I have seen some of them, and they are wonderful. It is very sad that a public institution like a university has copyrighted something that they didn’t make.

    4. Colin Helb

      Once upon a time, I worked at the Museum and grew quite fond of the Kintner collection. I am *slowly* working on a project on Watson and his travels.

      I would be happy to speak with anyone with an interest in these films.

      -Dr. Colin Helb
      Dept. of Communications
      Elizabethtown College

      1. patricio velarde

        Dr. Colin HELB
        Dept. de Comunicaciones
        Elizabethtown College

        He comenzado a investigar la parte histórica sobre uno de los films de 1949 e Watson Kintner sobre el antiguo pueblo de Santo Domingo de los Colorados y sus nativos llamados o indígenas llamados tsáchilas en Ecuador-Sudamerica. He obtenido la autorización y aval correspondientes de Penn Museum para difundirlo públicamente y espero aportar con nuevos datos ya que son películas sin voz. Espero conseguir apoyo de algunas instituciones para poder solventar los gastos que exige la misma investigación, incorporar sonido y extos a cada de las tomas. Espero tener listo para medianos de noviembre.

        Será un gusto comentarle sobre el avance de mi trabajo y que mejor que una persona que también está interesado en comentar sobre estas maravillas que el mundo ha heredado de Watson Kintner.

        Soy ecuatoriano, de profesión sociólogo e investigador histórico. Le escribo entonces, desde Quito-Ecuador. Favor comunicarse por este mismo medio (e mail) ya que no utilizo facebook .

        Patricio Velarde

    5. William Legere

      What a wonderful look back in time at these places around the globe. What I especially enjoy is that Mr. Kintner seemed to be interested in the common everyday aspect of the natives and surroundings.
      Some of these places were prior to or just at the beginnings of the American Corporation dominance and downfall. It’s not difficult to notice that most of the activity was at the local Market place, food crops and simple hand manufacturing seemed to rule the globe, wouldn’t it be nice if that held true today. There didn’t look like there was much sickness or Hunger in these films. Just imagine what it was like in Guatemala during the Reagan years , I bet the picture wasn’t as peaceful as what you see here.

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